Experienced Monmouth County Divorce Lawyer
Helping You Adapt to a Changing Family Structure
The experience of divorce is not one that people want to relive. It can be traumatic, numbing, overwhelming. It can cause hurt, anger and, sometimes, relief. Regardless, your life will be different going forward. When you decide to take this step due to reasons that may include irreconcilable differences, your safety and the safety of your children, you need the skills of an experienced and understanding Monmouth County divorce lawyer.
The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC, has the compassion and skills to guide you. As a child of divorce, Ms. McCaskill understands what you are experiencing. Not only will she and her team provide you with care and comfort, but also honest and knowledgeable answers. She will aggressively advocate for you in all matters related to divorce from child custody and division of property to post-divorce modifications.
Listening, Answering, Explaining and Understanding the Divorce Process
Ms. McCaskill is a skilled divorce lawyer who has practiced law for over 15 years. Her personal experiences with divorce inspired her to become a divorce lawyer and help people going through difficult family law situations. Her abilities have been recognized by her peers as she has been listed as a Top Rated Family Law Attorney for the past three years.
At the Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC, our divorce attorneys handle all aspects of the divorce process. The most common matters typically involve:
- Divorce Litigation—Even when it’s amicable, divorce is rarely an easy process. Although some couples are able to complete a divorce without going to court, others require litigation to resolve disputes over child custody and support, asset distribution, alimony, and other issues that may arise. Same-sex couples, and even unmarried couples, also require this type of litigation, especially when children and/or shared assets are involved.
- Divorce Mediation—If both spouses are in agreement about most major issues, such as child custody and the division of marital property, divorce mediation can be the quickest, most cost-effective, and least painful way to dissolve the marriage. Mediation doesn’t require the assistance of a lawyer, although a lawyer can be involved. The mediator will work closely with the spouses to help them resolve any differences and reach an amicable agreement in the most economical way possible.
- Alimony—Alimony is financial support paid from one spouse to the other as a contribution to the standard of living established during marriage. To determine whether alimony should be paid and at what amount, the courts will consider the needs of the potential recipient, the payor’s income, the marital standard of living, the duration of marriage, and several other factors.
- Child Support—In New Jersey, children have a constitutional right to be financially supported by both parents. In the event of divorce, one parent typically pays child support to the other. The amount of this support varies based on multiple factors, including the income of each parent, and the percentage of time the child spends with each parent.
- Child Custody—When couples with children separate, child custody arrangements are established to ensure that each parent gets to spend sufficient time with the children and that the children’s best interests are protected. Sometimes the parents share both physical and legal custody of the children equally. There is a legal presumption that parents will have an equal say in decisions regarding their children’s health, education and welfare. Residential custody schedules can vary anywhere between 50-50 and every other weekend, depending upon the circumstances of a number of factors.
- Division of Assets—New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital assets (property acquired during the course of the marriage) must be divided equitably (fairly and reasonably). This does not necessarily mean 50/50, and it isn’t calculated based on financial contribution alone; the non-financial contributions of a stay-at-home parent will be weighed against the financial contributions of the primary income earner, for example. Marital property may include real estate, investments, retirement accounts, and even a business.
- Post Judgment Matters—Although divorce agreements are intended to be final, significant life changes may require the modification of certain court orders. This is especially common with child support and alimony agreements, when there is a permanent shift in one party’s financial circumstances.
- Domestic Violence Issues and Protection Orders—When a marriage or intimate relationship becomes violent, leaving can be scary. If you are in an abusive relationship, step one is to escape to a safe location as soon as possible. Step two is to seek legal protection, such as applying for a temporary restraining order, and contacting a domestic violence attorney who can help you advocate for a final restraining order. You may even wish to file a civil or criminal lawsuit against your abuser.
Our Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers Also Have Experience Helping Same-sex Couples Through Every Aspect of Divorce
Since gay marriage became legal in 2013, thousands of couples across the country have made their union legal. Unfortunately, along with legal marriage comes the legal divorce process.
Divorces in a same-sex marriage often face many of the same concerns as a heterosexual marriage, namely:
- The division of assets
- Assignment of alimony
- Potential determination of child custody and support
- The division of assets, including investments or businesses
- The division of debts
These are difficult decisions and it’s important to work with a legal advocate who can speak candidly to you about your situation. While it sounds simple on paper, our attorneys understand how difficult this process can be when you’re going through an emotionally stressful time. A Monmouth County divorce lawyer will guide you through the process and fight for what’s important to you.
What Is the ‘Typical’ Divorce Process in New Jersey?
The first part of any divorce process is the filing of the divorce complaint, which includes the names and addresses of both spouses, and other details about the marriage, such as the grounds for divorce. The spouse who files is the plaintiff.
The defendant—the spouse who receives the complaint—responds to the complaint with an appearance, answer, or counterclaim. If the spouse does not respond to the complaint, the process will take a slightly different course.
Each spouse will then file a Case Information Statement (CIS), which details their financial status relevant to the divorce.
If the divorce is amicable and/or there are no major disputes to resolve, the parties may try to reach a settlement agreement. When this is not possible, both spouses will be required to participate in the Early Settlement Panel process, which provides non-binding recommendations about ways of resolving any existing issues from a local family law attorney. If this process is unsuccessful, the parties must then move to the next step, economic mediation.
Economic mediation is required when the spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own or with the help of the Early Settlement Panel. If this process is also unsuccessful, the spouses will move onto the next step, which is referred to as intensive settlement.
The intensive settlement conference, which takes place in the courthouse, is basically the last attempt at resolving any divorce issues before moving to trial.
If after all attempts at mediation and settlement, the spouses still cannot agree on any major issues, including child custody or the division of marital property, the divorce will move to trial. The court will hear from both parties and will decide on their behalf. When the trial is complete, the Final Judgment of Divorce will be issued, and the process will come to an end.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in NJ?
In New Jersey, divorces can be granted on grounds of fault or no-fault. Fault grounds include the following:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Deviant sexual behavior
- Divorce from bed and board
- Extreme cruelty
- Habitual drunkenness or drug use
- Imprisonment or institutionalism
Time for a New Beginning – Book a Consultation With Monmouth County Divorce Attorney
Regardless of your gender or marital arrangement, splitting up with your partner is painful. You don’t need to worry what the next stage of life will look like. We can help you move forward with strength and certainty.
At The Law Office of Jennifer J. McCaskill, LLC, we want to help make the process as easy as possible. We are located in Red Bank, but we serve all of Monmouth County, Ocean County, and the surrounding areas. We’ve helped countless couples in New Jersey navigate their divorce and we can help you today. Contact us online or call us at (732) 747-1882 to book a consultation with a divorce lawyer at our Red Bank office.